Many girls start to worry about their periods long before their periods decide to show up. Questions range from “when will I get it?” to “what will it be like?” and “how will it feel?” Understanding what happens during your period can help answer some of those questions.
When will it start?
Your period is also called menstruation or a menstrual period. For most girls, menstruation starts somewhere between the ages of eight and 13. Here’s what happens. As you grow up, your body starts to produce special chemicals called hormones that regulate things like whether you can have a baby and when your body is ready to get pregnant.
In your pelvis, which is the area inside your belly just above your hips, you have organs that exists so that you can get pregnant. The uterus is a pear shaped organ in the middle. It’s also sometimes called the womb and is the place where a baby grows. On each side of the uterus there are two organs called ovaries. When you are young, your ovaries are filled with tiny eggs.
What happens each month?
Each month, hormones trigger one or more eggs to get ready to be released. The egg leaves the ovary and is carried by a special passage called the fallopian tube into the uterus. This is called ovulation. If you have unprotected sex, the sperm from the man can fertilize the egg and you can get pregnant. If that happens, the fertilized egg will attach itself to the inside of the uterus where it will grow into a baby.
At the same time each month that an egg is getting ready, hormones also help the uterus get ready in case the egg is fertilized. The walls of the uterus get thicker to make sure there will be plenty of blood and nutrients if a fertilized egg needs a place to grow.
If the egg is not fertilized, it breaks apart and the hormone levels in the blood drop. This tells the uterus that it does not need the thick lining this month. This lining separates from the inside of the uterus and travels out of your body along with a little bit of blood as your period.
What is my monthly cycle?